Growing Our Voice is born out of the courageous hope to cultivate connection and compassion in our lives. My advocacy began at young age, but became most obvious when I began my career as an educator. During these years, I developed a critical understanding of the importance relationships play in teaching, learning and leading. I further explored this understanding when writing my dissertation on teacher-student and supervisor-teacher relationships. This research ignited an interest in supporting the well-being (professionally and personally) of teachers.
Soon after graduating in May 2015 from Boston University with my Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.), I realized that I did not know how to nurture my inner life, which negatively affected my well-being and that of my family’s well-being. I felt bereft of a joyful existence, crippled by stress, grief, overwhelm, resentment, perfectionism and a dysregulated nervous system. This was not how I wanted to live my life nor what I wanted for my family. Fortunately, I found the courage to study and practice mindfulness mediation and compassion. Nurturing my inner life by deepening my awareness of my relationship to experience, understanding emotions and processing trauma has been both challenging and liberating. Learning and practicing meditation was the catalyst to my healing journey. Mindfulness became the lighthouse helping me take one breath at a time and to see with clarity and consciousness what was happening in the present moment. Self-compassion became the salve for the deep wounds that I spent years trying to heal through unskillful ways.
My journey has inspired me to seek out ways to build awareness of mindfulness and compassion practices, and the benefits of meditation. This has led to creating this site, what I hope is a true integration of my knowledge as an educator, a parent and a practitioner.
I aim to embody the value of lifelong learner, or as my mindfulness mentor described me as “lifelong learner-healer.” I continue to grow my personal practice because it is the bedrock of my evolution and the place from which I can share the benefits of walking this path of heartfulness – mindful and compassionate living. In addition to being a part of several mindfulness meditation groups, participating in week-long silent retreats and receiving guidance from my mentors, I maintain a formal daily meditation practice.
Additionally, I consistently grow my teaching skills and knowledge through workshops, courses, and trainings. Here is a list of my most notable achievements and trainings related to my work as a mindfulness meditation and compassion teacher and mentor:
- December 2018: certified as Compassion Educator through the Compassion Institute
- January 2021: certified as Mindfulness Meditation Teacher through the two year Mindfulness Meditation Teacher Certification Program (MMTCP) with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach
- March 2021: certified by the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (IMTA)
- April 2020: complete Oren Jay Sofer’s Say What You Mean: Mindful Communication Course
- July 2020: completed David Treleaven’s Two-Part Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness training
- June 2022: completed the Mindfulness Mentor Training (MMT) through Cloud Sangha, which is a continuation of training offered by MMTCP
- July 2022: completed Deborah Eden Tull’s six months Heart of Listening training
- January 2023, I will begin a 2.5 year Master of Social Work program through Fordham University
- March 2023, I will embark on Deborah Eden Tull’s six month Seeing with the Heart: A Mentorship Program for Leaders and Facilitators, only offered to graduates of the Heart of Listening training.
I aspire to be a source of inspiration, and to offer a space for reflection, exploration and connection. I welcome you to join me on this path of awakening to the wisdom of our hearts and embracing our courage to connect compassionately and mindfully with our lived experience. Please reach out and let me know how I can be of compassionate support to you.
Wendy Heckert, Ed.D., CMT-P